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Mythbusters 2: The AAA Lineup

Hat tip to Lookout Landing for the inspiration a while back, and metsblog for the title. Part 1 here.

Cory Sullivan is _______: Versatile. Good at defense. A passable hitter. Not a reason Buffalo has been terrible, despite their great pitching staff. All of these descriptions are false. Every defensive metric rates Sullivan poorly, with our favorite, UZR, putting him at -11 runs/150 games in centerfield and -9 UZR/150 in rightfield. Plus/minus rates him as only below-average, not very bad, so he's got that going for him. I've heard Coors Field throws off these stats, but they use park factors, so that seems like a myth in itself. Putting aside his defense, however, one can marvel at his Coors-inflated .715 career-OPS. He's --.3 WAR already, and his "range" isn't suiting Citi Field, despite what you hear on the radio. He got promoted over Nick Evans, because Sullivan was "more versatile," despite Evans being a good defensive infielder and outfielder with pop and potential. Just because he's been played in all three OF spots, doesn't mean he's good at any of them.

Omir Santos is our defensive catcher: Brian Schneider has thrown out 35% of would be basestealers. Santos has thrown out 27%. Sometimes his throws barely reach second base. At seemingly every play at the plate, Santos fails to block home plate or lets the ball get away. But that's just part of catcher defense, right? According to Baseball Prospectus, Schneider has been a run above average, Santos has been four runs below average, and just for kicks, Ramon Castro has been four runs above average defensively. If you consider him the offensive superior to Schneider, that's a whole 'nother mess, but stop calling for him to start "for defense." We kept him because he calls a better game that Hippo, right?

Orlando Hudson>>>Luis Castillo: Luis Castillo's OBP eclipsed .400 and all people could talk about was trading him to make room for Orlando Hudson. I think Orlando Hudson is better than Luis Castillo, but it's a slight difference (2.2 v. 1.5 WAR) and it could change soon. Despite his hot start, Hudson's wOBA is only 3 points higher than Castillo's (.352 v. .349), and his gold-glove defense is declining even faster. After having a bad -5 RangeUZR rating last year, Hudson has already eclipsed -4 this year. Meanwhile, Castillo has improved his from -6 last year to -1.3 this year, due in large part to his knees healing. These two players are about as close in value as possible, and with Hudson's deteriorating range, Castilo could be the better player very soon.

Jeff Francoeur is fixed!: I've heard it all lately: stronger grip, more open stance, more relaxed. Pretty soon, we'll be reading stories about Francoeur's lucky underpants. Not to discount the possibility the change of scenery has helped him, but save the quick-fix stories for when he draws his first unintentional walk. The WINCOEUR12 database of gameday data I constructed will be following any signs of improvement from Jeffrey very carefully, but until I see something tangible, like a walk, I'll ignore the usual noise about minor modifications making 2 years-worth of improvements.

Omar Minaya's Job Security

The Mets are back in it: As one user put it: "When is 6.5 GB really not 6.5 GB? When you have 7 teams ahead of you." Despite the Mets' winning streak, Baseball Prospectus has the Mets chances at 3.7% (or just 1.8% PECOTA adjusted). That's a shot, in the most lenient use of the word, but not worth rushing Carlos Beltran back injured for or trading prospects for a LOOGY.